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Spin Control

Posts tagged: bill signings

Sunday Spin: The bill-signing dam breaks

OLYMPIA – In the list of threats a Washington governor can hurl at a recalcitrant Legislature, “I won’t sign your bills” has proven to be among the least menacing.
Gov. Chris Gregoire kept threatening not to sign bills if the Legislature didn’t cough up a General Fund budget that left the state in the black at the end of this fiscal biennium. If any legislators quaked in their boots, they did it from afar, where they have spent most of the special session. It did not register here on the political Richter scale.
The reason for that is basic civics. . .

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More bills signed: Eyeglasses and Discover Passes

OLYMPIA – Charities like the Union Gospel Mission can soon resume distributing used eyeglasses to people who can’t afford to buy them, under a bill signed into law Friday.

The legislation, which protects charities like the Mission and the Lions Club International from lawsuits for distributing glasses and hearing aids, was one of more than 60 bills signed today by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Also signed were bills that allow residents to use the Discover Pass for state parks and other state lands on two vehicles, require more information on some political ads, offer more protection to victims of domestic violence and crack down on Medicaid fraud. . .

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Special Session Day 18: Bill signings yes; budget deal, maybe

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire lifted her self-imposed boycott of bill signings Thursday and said legislators could be close to reaching a deal on cuts to the state’s operating budget. Or not.

“In the next 48 hours, we could have an agreement,” she said. “Then again, in the next 48 hours, it could all fall apart.”

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Gregoire to sign boatload of bills

OLYMPIA — In the lists of possible inducements a governor can offer to legislators to break a deadlock, “I won't sign your bills” might rank pretty near the bottom.

Or so it would seem today as Gov. Chris Gregoire prepares to sign 112 of the 177 bills on her desk in a signature scribbling marathon. She'll start at 1 p.m., and finish sometime after 7 p.m.

Considering Gregoire said less than a week ago “no budget, no bills” one might infer that means there is a deal to break the logjam over the state's operating budget, which is some $1.5 billion out of whack. But one would be wrong.

Although the governor was in meetings with legislative leaders this morning, her staff said, there was no deal in the works when the signings were scheduled. Actually, the schedule was starting to be sent out before the meeting, so folks happy that one or more of these particular pieces of legislation could make plans to smile for the cameras as Gregoire attaches her John Hancock to the appropriate line.

And the other 65 bills? Staff says they aren't sure yet. If not vetoed by midnight Saturday, those bills become law without the governor's signature.

Gregoire: Don’t threaten me

Tribal members gather in the Capitol Building after a bill signing.

OLYMPIA — Legislators unhappy about her refusal to sign many bills should take their concerns up with their leadership, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Monday.

“I don't take threats from legislators,” Gregoire said, responding to a press release issued late last week from a Republican legislator who accused her of “playing politics” with bills.

Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, said supporters of bills to help the developmentally disabled and bils to crack down on human trafficking should contact Gregoire and urge her to sign them. The governor said she was  holding off on signing most bills until legislative leaders break their logjam over the budget.

“They don't deserve to have these bills held hostage just because the governor hasn't gotten her way on the budget,” Delvin said in his press release.

One of the bills Delvin mentioned, which gives people with developmental disabilities help in after they enroll in an employment program, was signed Monday, but another, which involves assessing juvenile offenders for developmental disabilities when they are placed in a county detention center, remains on hold. 

Gregoire signed about a dozen bills Monday, including one she proposed to create collaboration between state colleges' education departments and struggling public schools. She also signed a bill that returns control over local courts systems from the state to Native American tribes, which brought more than 100 representatives of various tribes to the Capitol.

After the signing ceremony, many of the tribal members, some in traditional clothing, gathered outside the door of the Senate to sing.

Bills that have large numbers of supporters who must plan trips to Olympia will be scheduled and signed. But “by far and away the vast majority of bills” won't for the time being, Gregoire said: “I am not signing the majority of their bills. No budget, no bills.”

Budget leaders met Monday morning with the director of the Office of Financial Management and Gregoire made individual calls to House and Senate leaders. Both parties will have to give up a key element of the budget strategy, the Democrats their plan to delay the state's payment to schools by a few days to free up $330 million to spend in this biennium, the Republicans their plan to skip a payment to the state pension system to free up $150 million for spending. Both options have become “toxic,” Gregoire said.

If Delvin or other legislators have complaints, they are “free to go tell the leadership,” she said.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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